Western Europeans and Others: The Making of Europe at the United Nations

By Gotz, Norbert | Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, July-September 2008 | Go to article overview

Western Europeans and Others: The Making of Europe at the United Nations


Gotz, Norbert, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political


This article examines the emergence of the so-called Western European and Others Group as well as that of the caucus of European Communities at the General Assembly of the United Nations based on a study of documents from Nordic foreign ministries in the period 1945 to 1975. It shows that the global entanglement of Western Europe both stimulated and inhibited the development of closer subcontinental collaboration during the Cold War, and it demonstrates that a European core was necessary for facilitating common political action. The hesitant and reactive evolution of Western European collaboration at the United Nations, the arbitrariness of its geographical scope, and the alienation of its members provide a key to understanding European identity in the second half of the twentieth century. Keywords: United Nations, bloc politics, Western Europe, foreign policy, identity

**********

Familiarity with the European Union makes it easy to forget that the concept of Europe is highly contingent and that it takes different shapes in different settings. A striking, albeit little-known example lends itself well to illustrate this premise: On the world floor of the United Nations, the existence of the two separate groups--the so-called Group of Eastern European States (EES) and the Western European and Others Group (WEOG)--continues to have significance for regional representation in United Nations organs two decades after the end of the Cold War.

While the division at macro level is clearly obsolete, not least in view of the development of close collaboration of the countries belonging to the European Union in all matters concerning the United Nations, (1) enthusiasm for a revision is lacking. The reason for maintaining this seemingly blatant contradiction lies in a more complex underbelly: Any change in the key of representation would certainly diminish the political representation of the European states in United Nations organs. (2) Thus, former Soviet republics wishing to join the Western electoral group have been rejected. After a maverick spell and hope for admission to the Western European and Others Group, even Estonia has now joined the Eastern European Group. This step was taken as late as May 2004, parallel to the country's accession to the European Union. The ongoing participation of Cyprus in the Asian Group is worth noting among other political anomalies of regional politics in the United Nations.

This article examines the emergence and early development of the WEOG as well as that of the caucus of European Communities (EC). Based on a study of documents from Nordic foreign ministries, it challenges a pioneer study from 1960 on bloc politics in the United Nations that claims, "The states in the Western European geographical distribution group have been 'lumped' together, so to speak, in a strange collection of members which it would not be very productive to examine."

This grouping is in contrast to the potentially more rewarding study on the consultation of members of the European Communities. (3) This article assumes the very opposite; namely, that the hesitant and reactive evolution of this group, the arbitrariness of its geographical scope, and the alienation of its members provide a key to understanding European identity in the second half of the twentieth century. While it demonstrates the potential for a globalizing Europe as a community of values that eventually transforms most of the countries within its scope and transcends imagined geographical borders, this understanding also shows that a European core was necessary for facilitating common political action. Thus, the history of Western European cooperation in the United Nations facilitates a better understanding of the contingency of the construction of Europe, which frequently leads to European communities not conforming to geographical definitions.

The following survey starts by sketching the legal parameters of Western European representation in the United Nations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Western Europeans and Others: The Making of Europe at the United Nations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.